Now he was looking at the dome with a cross, glittering in the sun, and waiting for death to come. But it was slow in coming, though a tenfold heroin overdose should have caused a quick death. Meanwhile, death was still not going to take him, and he was gazing down at the golden cross on the church dome and couldn’t tear himself away from the view.
Natalia had no idea what the Jewish woman’s reaction would be, nor did she know what else she could offer to relieve Tabitha’s sufferings. With her simple heart and sincere faith, Natalia wanted to share the thing she held dearest with Tabitha and used the Gospel as the source of her personal spiritual consolation.
It is crystal clear that our society is infected with a shortage of love. I think that our contemporaries, choked up in the general atmosphere of enmity (because of the lack of love), above all expect love from the Church. That is why above all we should tell those on the outside that God is love.
But now you’ve heard of two whole Germans who came to Rus’ for the Holy Spirit, although it certainly bloweth were it listeth. And both of them took on the very difficult form of Christian asceticism—foolishness for Christ—and achieve sainthood in it. Yes, two! But wait, there is a third.
The question of how the Orthodox Church should receive converts from other Christian confessions is a large and complicated one, and is sometimes capable of drawing very warm responses—including from some of our Protestant and Roman Catholic brethren who may feel rejected and slighted by talk of conversion from their confessions to that of Orthodoxy.
Christ tells the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to Him, “Ye can discern the face of the sky,” that is, tell what the weather will be; “but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” In other words, He’s telling them that this has nothing to do with science, or with knowing our place in the world, or anything of the sort.
The convent’s distinctive feature is that its nuns are not only from Greece, but also natives of other countries—Austria, Australia, the UK, Armenia, Germany, Cyprus, Lebanon, Russia, the USA, Estonia, and Japan; and they hold some parts of the services in their native languages.
Monasticism does not exist for any specific purposes related to this world. To quote an anonymous author of The History of Egyptian Monks (fourth century), “From the very beginning, the purpose of monasticism was following Christ in the desert, singing hymns and psalms and waiting for our Lord to come.” This seeming “uselessness” makes monasticism free from any services within the Church structure.